Disappointment as Ofsted tells school to improve

Bartons Primary School
Bartons Primary School

A headteacher has voiced her disappointment after her school was told to improve by Ofsted.

Bartons Primary, in Lethaby Road, was previously inspected in December 2011, when it was rated ‘good’. Its latest inspection saw it rated ‘requires improvement’ in all areas except the personal development, behaviour and welfare of the children, which remained ‘good’.

Ofsted

Ofsted

Headteacher Kate Powell said: “We found the inspectors’ findings disappointing and the staff, parents and governing body do not feel that it wholly reflects the school as it is now and that they did not fully recognise the developments and improvements that have been made in the last year or so.”

In their report, inspectors Janet Pearce and Janet Maul said the quality of teaching, learning and assessment at Bartons was “not consistently good”. They reported that pupils did not make enough progress, too few were sufficiently challenged, and too many had gaps in their knowledge and understanding “because of weak teaching in the past”.

There were plenty of positives in the report. The inspectors acknowledged the changes made by Mrs Powell since her appointment in September 2016, adding: “Leaders and staff have transformed the ethos of the school. They have raised expectations and created a welcoming and aspirational atmosphere.

“Teaching, learning and assessment are improving.”

The conduct of the children was praised, with the report describing them as being confident and happy with delightful manners and a love of learning.

Most of the youngsters were seen to be making good progress in reading, and the inspectors recognised the work being carried out to improve writing, which they said was “rightly a focus across the school”.

The report carried a list of requirements which Bartons will have to address before it can regain its ‘good’ rating. They centred around improving pupils’ attainment at the end of Key Stage 1, particularly in writing and maths, ensuring good progress for all pupils, improving the impact of leadership and management, and holding an external review of governance.

Mrs Powell said it was almost impossible to compare the 2011 and 2017 Ofsted reports as both the inspection framework and the school itself had changed so much in six years.

As well as undergoing a change of leadership, since 2011, Bartons has moved to a new site and grown from an infant to primary school.

Mrs Powell said: “Our biggest disappointments are that the report is mainly reporting on the past whereas we would have liked more recognition of how hard the staff are working now and the effective changes that have been made. We just need time for the new initiatives and programmes to embed.

“It was disappointing that they said that the governing body needed a review when we feel that this is unnecessary given their work over the last year.

"We also felt that the inspectors did not recognise the progress that our children are making towards the end of year expectations. We feel that our end of year data will greatly improve because of improved teaching and learning. The judgements to our Early Years was also a surprise and again we do not agree with the statements.”

She said the school had a “clear plan of development and actions” in place and added: “Ofsted reports will always find areas that need developing in all schools and we will not shy away from their findings and so it will drive us on to work even harder to show them that Bartons is a good school.

“Our school community and pupils certainly believe that it is.”